Unbelayvable: How Knot to Rappel

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Kevin Corrigan
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Every Monday we publish the most unbelievable stories of climbing stupidity submitted by our readers. See something unbelayvable? Tell us in the comments and your story could be featured in a future edition, online or in print. For more Unbelayvable, check out the Unbelayvable Archives.

Unbelayvable: How Knot to Rappel

>>I saw this guy rapping off Intersection Rock in Joshua Tree. His rope didn't reach the ground, but it was long enough to reach a big ledge most people walk off. I didn’t think much of it. He looked like he was going pretty fast though, so I stopped to see what he was doing. He was about to pass the ledge and was coming to the end of his rope when I yelled, "Stop! Hey! Your rope's not on the ground!" My buddies quickly chimed in. He stopped just in time to swing to the ledge and not rap off the end of his rope, which wasn’t knotted.—Reese Butler, via Climbing.com

LESSON: Always, always, always knot the ends of your rappel rope. It's such a simple thing to do, and it would save so many lives. We recommend the triple barrel knot, but many knots will do the job. You won't always know if both strands of your rope have reached the ground, but if the ends are knotted, they'll jam in your rappel device before a catastrophic accident occurs. If you are in doubt about the length of the rappel, err on the side of caution and stop early to build an intermediate anchor.

Dumb Anchor of the Week

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What’s wrong with the pictured section of this anchor? How would you improve it? Tell us in the comments, then see more awful anchors at the Dumb Anchors blog. Photos: John Gregory/Dumb Anchors. (Click for full size.)

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